Learn How to Do a Chest Workout For Mass

November 26, 2022 / Workout
Learn How to Do a Chest Workout For Mass

Looking to build bigger chest? With this best chest workouts you will be able to build size and strength.

Having a strong and well defined chest is a goal for many men and for good reason – it’s one of the highlights of a well-chiseled physique.

Chest is also a favorite day for many in the gym, which is one reason why it might seem like everyone is in the gym on Monday working their chest.  Understanding the right exercises to have in place if you want to really carve out your chest will be critical to your success.

In this article we’ll discover how to build chest muscles. We’ll also discuss what the best chest workouts really are.

Understanding Chest Anatomy Before Chest Workout

The main chest muscle is called the pectoralis major and is commonly known as the pecs. These chest muscles are attached to the front of your rib cage.

The pectoralis major muscles are jointed to the humerus next to the shoulder joint and begin near the breastbone in the center of the chest. The fibers of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor sweep across the chest.

Their fan-like structure allows the humerus to move around over many planes across your body. The pectoralis minor muscle is located underneath the pectoralis major, joining to the coracoid process of the scapula that begins on your middle rib cage.

Chest anatomy

Even if the pectoralis major muscle seems like a whole pack of anatomical muscle, we need to examine this muscle in three different aspects due to three different anatomical points attachments. (1)

Clavicular Head and Exercises

The upper fiber bundles which is named as clavicular head is the part that attaches to the collarbone. When you open the collar of your shirt, it is your upper chest muscle that gives that magnificent look.

Here are 7 favorite exercises for the upper chest muscles.

  1. Incline Barbell Press
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press
  3. Incline Dumbbell Fly
  4. Low Cable Crossover
  5. Dumbbell Upward Fly
  6. Lever Incline Chest Press
  7. Close-Grip Incline Dumbbell Press

Sternal Head and Exercises

The sternal head is the major part of the pectoralis major, known as the inner or middle part. It starts from the sternum, which is attached to the rib cage, and extends through the middle of the chest to the humerus.

inner chest anatomy

Inner Chest: It is that vertical line between muscles that separates your left pectoral muscle from your right pectoral muscle. That’s what basically looks like you have male cleavage. Having a good inner chest is key if you want to look sculpted and defined.

So what are some good inner chest workouts?

  1. Barbell Bench Press
  2. Dumbbell Press
  3. Chest Press Machine
  4. Cable Crossover
  5. Push-up

More specifically, the inner chest

  1. Hex Press
  2. Close-Grip Dumbbell Press
  3. Pec Dec Fly
  4. Dumbbell Fly
  5. Inner Chest Press Machine

Abdominal Head and Exercises

The abdominal head is the part that extends from the anterior layer of the rectus sheath up along the lower part of your chest and attaches to your humerus.

Lower Chest: Your lower chest is what makes your chest look defined and more bulky. It’s what separates your chest muscles from your stomach and abs. If you have a defined lower chest you can really make body look a lot bigger by having this definition. What are some lower pec exercises you can do to get this type of definition in your chest?

  1. Decline Barbell Bench Press
  2. Decline Dumbbell Press
  3. Decline Dumbbell Fly
  4. Decline Hammer Press
  5. High Cable Crossover
  6. Decline Cable Fly
  7. Lever Decline Press

All chest exercises you do naturally activate all the chest muscles, but the focus will differ depending on the angle of the exercise.

The thing is that your lower pectoral muscle works at a different angle than the rest of your pecs. That’s why the chest exercises are classified as “lower chest exercises”, “upper chest exercises” and “inner chest exercises”.

Learn The Best Chest Exercises For Your Chest Workout Plan

While some chest exercises work better for some than others, there are a few staple exercises that you should have during your chest workouts. There are ones that will stimulate the more muscle fibers than the others. When doing this correctly with a good diet, then you should see the most pec growth possible. 

It’s all about finding the right chest workout and increasing the number of reps you perform in a fully contracted position. Let’s look at the main ones to know so that you can get these into your protocol immediately.

1. Barbell Bench Press

Bench Press for chest workout program

Muscles Worked:

  • Target – Pectoralis Major, Sternal
  • Synergists – Clavicular
  • Synergists – Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists – Triceps
  • Dynamic Stabilizers – Biceps Brachii

Why Should You Bench Press?

The very first must-do move is the flat barbell bench press. This exercise is the ‘king’ of upper body moves because it’s a compound exercise that will allow you to go as heavy as possible on it.

You’ll work the chest, the shoulders, the triceps, and even the biceps to some degree while performing it.  This move should typically be done at the start of your workout program when you are most fresh and able to lift maximum weight.

Be sure to keep track of your breathing while doing this exercise as well. Far too many people have a tendency to hold their breath, which will just lead to light headedness and you feeling weaker than normal.

Breathe out as you drive the weight upwards and in as you lower it back down again.

You can also experiment with using wide grip and a more narrow grip as well while doing this exercise. This will help keep your muscles responding and growing stronger.

2. Incline Bench Press

Next up you have the incline dumbbell bench press. This is another great compound exercise that will work all the muscles described below, but will place more total stress and strain on the upper chest region.  If you want to bring up your upper chest, this should be your go-to movement.

Incline bench press for chest workout

Muscles Worked:

  • Target – Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
  • Synergists – Pectoralis Major, Sternal
  • Synergists – Deltoid, Anterior
  • Synergists – Triceps Brachii
  • Dynamic Stabilizers – Biceps Brachii

Try doing this one with a set of dumbbells rather than a barbell if you used the barbell for your flat bench press.  That way, you’ll provide more variety for your muscles, keeping them responding and getting stronger.

Using the dumbbells is also great as it can help to prevent muscular imbalances from developing as well.

Note that the higher the incline, the more the focus will switch over to your shoulders, so keep it to a moderate incline only.  You should be able to feel your chest working first and foremost when executing this movement.

3. Decline Bench Press

Decline bench press for chest workout routine

Muscles Worked:

  • Pectoralis Major, (Abdominal and sternal head)
  • Synergists – Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
  • Synergists – Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists – Triceps
  • Dynamic Stabilizers – Biceps Brachii

Along with the incline dumbbell press, the decline bench press is another excellent move to get into your protocol.  Just as the incline bench press has a greater tendency to work the upper chest, the decline bench press is going to instead target the lower chest region.

This bench press can be slightly uncomfortable when first starting, so make sure that you have a spotter with you and use a lighter weight. Then, once you’ve gotten the feel for the movement pattern, increase the weight upwards until you’re fully challenged.

Really focusing on the squeeze of the muscle while doing this exercise will also help ensure that you’re targeting the lower chest as optimally as possible.

4. Dumbbell Fly

Adding some isolation work to your chest workout to bring up your pecs is also a wise move.  Isolation exercises should come towards the end of the session when your chest is already in a partially fatigued state. This will help to really bring you to that state of maximum muscle fatigue, ensuring that you are going to see superior strength gains.

Dumbbell Fly for chest workout plan

Muscles Worked:

  • Target – Pectoralis Major, Sternal
  • Synergists – Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
  • Synergists – Deltoid, Anterior
  • Synergists – Biceps Brachii
  • Stabilizers – Brachialis
  • Stabilizers – Triceps
  • Stabilizers – Wrist Flexors

Dumbbell chest fly’s can be done on a flat bench, incline bench, or decline bench depending on your preference. Start with a flat bench until you get a good feel for the movement and then from there, you can incline or decline the bench as necessary.

Chest fly’s tend to be good for increasing the definition between the two pectoral muscles, creating that cleavage-like line that most guys are looking for.

Do this movement in a very slow and steady movement pattern in order to keep proper mind-muscle control at all times. The minute you start to swing the weights is the minute that you’ll take tension off the muscles, reducing the results that you see.

Finally, when doing this move, also make sure that you aren’t letting your arms go beyond parallel.  Doing so can cause great strain to the shoulder joint, setting you up for injuries down the road.

5. Cable Crossover

Another option is to switch over to using cables as well. This will keep constant muscular tension on the chest muscles at all times, so can be good for really helping to bring out maximum muscle definition.

Cable crossover for chest workout

Muscles Worked

  • Target – Pectoralis Major, Sternal
  • Synergists – Pectoralis Major, Clavicular and Lower
  • Synergists – Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists – Biceps Brachii
  • Stabilizers – Brachialis
  • Stabilizers – Triceps Brachii
  • Stabilizers – Wrist Flexors

Cables offer a different effect than free weights because there is a constant tension in the chest muscles throughout their full range of motion.

There are many factors that you can adjust to challenge your body in different ways with both cables and free weights. They are both great for building muscles, toning muscles, improving strength, and burning calories. So if you have access try incorporating both cables and free weights in your workouts.

There are several variations of this exercise. These types differ depending on how you use the cable machine. Simply change the height settings of the cable to work your upper, lower or inner chest.

So there you have some of the best exercises to consider doing if you want to improve your pec muscles.  With enough hard work and determination, you can get that chest that you’ve always dreamed of.

Chest Stretch

The truth is stretching simply helps your body to move more efficiently and when your body moves more efficiently you are less likely to get injured and you will perform at a higher level.

It is very important to stretch the chest muscles. Static stretches for the chest are great to increase the range of motion of the shoulder.

In order to increase range of motion, use static stretching. Static stretching involves holding a good stretch for 20-30 seconds. Perform each stretch 1-3 times.

How to Design a Chest Workout?

You can use dumbbells, barbells, machines, cables or kettlebells, or even just your body weight to work your chest muscles. The best chest workouts for this muscle group must consist of heavy weights and exercises that focus on working out all of the muscles equally.

Are you looking to grow your chest muscles?

  1. Set a Goal
  2. Choose exercises suitable for the target
  3. Choose Your Sets and Reps.
  4. Plan your workout

Choose a variety of chest exercises, and mix up your workout to keep it fun and challenging.

Work up a series of exercise programs with different exercises for the same muscles. Change your program every 1,5-2 months. Using this method will allow your muscles not to be too acclimated to routine. You’ll also find that it keeps the training more fun and challenging.

Change Your Exercises:

The changes you make with your routine will keep your muscles guessing, thus making their performance improve. Alter your routines from high rep/high sets/light weights to low reps/high sets/heavy weights. Your muscles won’t be able to get used to the routine because of the changes. If you’re thinking of working out the same muscles, you should change exercises on a consistent basis.

Chest Workout For Mass (Hypertrophy)

Hypertrophy refers to the increase and growth of muscle cells. Hypertrophy involves lifting moderately heavy weights and doing moderate sets and repetitions. Research generally recommends that you lift 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps, and lift between 60-85%.

In order to get bigger chest muscles you need to remember a few things. You need to understand that it takes time and you need to dedicate yourself to your daily workout plan.

Make sure you stick to the muscle building program 100% to see big gains in your muscle size and strength. 3-4 sets of 8 -10 reps each (remember use a weight that you are barely making the last two reps, and only rest for about a minute between sets)

Make sure you do chest workouts at least 2 times a week. You’re really going to concentrate on this muscle group in this weight training workout by increasing weights every time you exercise.

Barbell Bench Press

3 x 10

Barbell Bench Press

Incline Bench Press

4 x 8-10

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Fly

3 x 12

Dumbbell Fly

Decline Bench Press

4 x 8-10

Decline Barbell Bench Press

Chest Dips

3 x Max

Chest Dips

Well the first two things you need to do in order to get bigger chest muscles is to focus on diet and exercise.

Avoid processed foods like high amounts of breads and carbs. Consume high protein foods to get bigger chest muscles. Proteins are the building blocks of amino acids. Proteins actually help you knit back together torn tissue. Proteins can be found in many foods like fish, chicken and meals.

You need recovery time to get bigger muscles remember that.

Recovery time is critical: If you don’t give yourself enough time to recover you’re killing your muscle gaining progress. Your body needs that time to actually build the muscle tissue that was torn down. Your muscle fibers need to regrow and they do the bulk of their rebuilding during your recovery phase.

Sleep to gain muscle size: Sleep is so important when you want to get bigger muscles. This is the time when your body does most of its repair work on the muscles your tore up during your intense gym workouts. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep (5 of which is uninterrupted), preferably the best hours before midnight. Without time to repair and rebuild, your muscles will never grow bigger and gain strength or size.

12 Steps To Ensure You Get The Best Chest Workout

  1. Always lift weights in a full range of motion.
  2. Perform sets of 3-4 maximum but it’s more preferable to only do 8 or 12 reps for best results.
  3. Don’t forget to do at least 2-3 warm up sets.
  4. Make sure to find yourself increasing weights every set.
  5. Rest and recover for at least 60-90 seconds in between sets.
  6. Eat lean protein foods for maximum growth potential.
  7. Stretch before during and after your weight training exercises.
  8. Always improve your form while lifting.
  9. A variety in your chest workout program is critical.
  10. Take your supplements.
  11. Make sure to do a blast set where you do low weights high reps at the very end without resting after your final lift.
  12. Push yourself to lift heavy…ALWAYS.
chest workout for Hypertrophy
Posted by
Kelvin johnson
With a career spanning over a decade, Kelvin holds certifications as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Exercise Physiologist. His mission is simple yet powerful: to provide effective training for individuals willing to put in the work.